Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Bahamas Trip - Day 2 - July 25, 2011: There Be Sharks Here

The next day, I felt much better.  No more headaches and no more queasiness.

We found out the night before that we were doing the shark feeding dive on Monday.  I was surprised that it was scheduled so early in the trip, our second day of diving.  I figured it would have been held on Thursday as a build up to a climax.  Nevertheless, I was excited by the prospect of taking part in something that I had been wanting to do for quite some time.

The Aqua Cat conducts its shark feeding dives at a site called Split Coral Head off of Eleuthera.  Before we did the shark feeding dive, we did a regular dive at the site.  The Reef sharks were already there and I looked forward to trying out my new underwater camera to to snap some shots.  For those who are interested, the camera I used was a Sealife DC1200.

The photograph I took above was my first one.  Several Reef sharks were swimming around me as I began my descent, and I was able to get the shot above with a shark in the foreground and several of the divers in the background.

I was able to get this close up of a Reef shark, though owing to my novice underwater photography skills, I wasn't quite able to get the entire shark in the frame.

It was a good dive and the first one I ever did with sharks in close proximity to me.  I wasn't sure how I would react to find myself in the water with them, but surprisingly I didn't feel the least bit of trepidation.  It was more a sense of fascination and wonder at being able to observe them in their natural environment.   For those who are shark-phobes, these sharks seemed generally indifferent to our presence.

After the dive was over, we returned to the Aqua Cat for a surface interval and then attended Ian's dive briefing.  We would form a semi-circle on the sand, about 60 feet below sea level, while the fish would be lowered down the mooring line to about 15 or 20 feet from the bottom.   A few minutes after the feeding had begun, the crew would in turns take us one at a time to have ourselves photographed and briefly videotaped, and then guided over to the other side.   Ian stressed that we should under no condition try to touch the sharks, even on the tail, as they could bend their bodies so that their heads could reach back and bite you.  No argument with that here!

I replaced the memory card in my underwater camera, as I wanted to keep photographs separate from video.  I ended up shooting several segments of video.  The first one is at the beginning and lasts about two and a half minutes.  It is followed by a longer sequence that is more than 8 minutes.  Then there is another shorter segment of the aftermath.  Close to the feeding site was a small patch of coral and as I approached it, Ian pointed out to me one of the denizens of the coral, a spotted moray.  At one point in the video you will here me make a sound, which was my reaction to seeing the moray, as I wasn't sure at first what Ian was trying to show me.

At some points, the video points downward at the sand for seemingly no particular reason.  If memory serves, at various times I needed to clear the flooding in my mask, and at those points the camera would have been floating while tied to my wrist with a lanyard strap.   The camera was also sensitive to light, and I notice that sometimes when it pointed upwards towards the surface, everything took on a reddish hue.  What can I say, I'm not a professional at this.  But I think I did a decent job overall.  Enjoy.

Of course, I couldn't help but try to get a little bit of myself in the video by briefly pointing the camera towards me and giving a little wave.

At the end of the video when I pointed the camera at Tara, who had ended up to my left, she gave me the underwater signal for "shark."

You may notice at several points in this video some of the divers looking like they are crawling on the sea floor.  During the dive briefing, Ian explained how shark teeth are very loose and that at the end of the feeding, it would be possible to find some teeth on the sea floor underneath where they had been eating.  I was able to find two of them.

Besides Reef sharks, there were also a lot of Yellowtail snapper and Nassau groupers in the area that I also captured on film.  All in all, it was a good day of diving.

1 comment:

Scuba Gear Packages said...

Wow!! It's a brilliant post!! Thank you for the share!! picture are amazing and so are the videos!!